Cycling around the former Zuiderzee takes you on a historic tour around the IJsselmeer and the Wadden Islands.
Cycling over the dyke near Nijkerk. Photo © Holland-Cycling.comCycling over the dyke near Nijkerk. Photo ©

Once a raging sea, now a tamed sweet water lake: the IJsselmeer. Centuries of battling against floods ended in 1932 when the Zuiderzee was dammed off from the North Sea, changing this region forever. Cycling around the former Zuiderzee takes you back to the time when the Zuiderzee was still a sea. 

From historic towns to picturesque villages, from dune nature reserves to open landscapes with beautiful vistas over the polders, IJsselmeer and the Wadden Sea - now a UNESCO World Heritage site -, this route showcases the rich history and varied landscapes around the Zuiderzee.

The historic journey takes you through the harbour towns of Amsterdam, Hoorn, Enkhuizen and Medemblik where the ships of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) sailed off to discover new continents and bring back all kinds of exotic goods. You will also visit the Hanze towns of Kampen, Hindeloopen and Stavoren and the traditional fishing villages of Volendam, Marken and Spakenburg. As it's a historic route, it does not take you along the Afsluitdijk (which was completed in 1932), but the route takes you 'island hopping' to the Wadden islands Texel, Vlieland and Terschelling, possible from mid May to September.

Cycling the former Zuiderzee is not signposted or marked on cycle maps. The guide book Fietsen rond de voormalige Zuiderzee gives you maps and a list of the numbers of the numbered cycle network for the route that you can follow. Please note, there is no numbered cycle network on the Wadden Islands of Vlieland and Terschelling. There are also downloadable GPS tracks.

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Cycling around the former Zuiderzee (Fietsen rond de voormalige Zuiderzee)

Route: Amsterdam - Amsterdam (round trip)
Distance: 500 km
Guide book: Fietsen rond de voormalig Zuiderzee, Uitgeverij Elmar
GPS tracks: Download from Uitgeverij Elmar